Investigative Unit: New Roads Mayor using taxpayer dollars for personal police detail
NEW ROADS- The city council in New Roads passed a resolution limiting Mayor Cornell Dukes use of a security detail following a report by the WBRZ Investigative Unit.
In December, we learned the mayor of New Roads said he needs a police officer with him at all times due to safety concerns and threats that have been made on his life. But, the WBRZ Investigative Unit found the New Roads Police Department had no threats reported against Mayor Dukes.
The WBRZ Investigative Unit found taxpayers shelled out at least $24,000 over a year's time for one officer to be with the mayor. That officer, Byron Lewis, worked more than 1,300 hours based on our calculations from time sheets the WBRZ Investigative Unit received through a public records request.
Dukes is an anomaly, as he's the only mayor in a small city that uses a security detail.
Last week, the council passed a resolution limiting the mayor's use of a security detail to 50 hours per year. The mayor fired back, calling the WBRZ Investigative Unit report "fake news" and denounced the resolution.
"We just think there should be some parameters set by the council," longtime Councilman Kurt Kellerman said. "It's taxpayer money being spent and the money we have we need to spend it wisely."
Kellerman said the resolution was passed in a 3-2 vote.
"The micro-managing and non-progressive limitations set forth by the resolution would minimize the advancement of us soundly securing our place as one of the busiest tourist destinations in the southern region," Dukes said in a statement. "I hereby denounce the last portions of this resolution in regard to micromanagement of hours and reporting, and strongly will continue to uphold its other portions which are already in place."
Kellerman said with the mayor not planning to abide by the resolution, the council is now exploring other options.
"The next step would be to pass an ordinance, which is stronger than a resolution," Kellerman said. "In the city charter, states the mayor shall enforce resolutions and ordinances. In my opinion, he needs to abide by what the council came up with."
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